Family Decision Making

Learning Concepts
Family & household Types of families Family Decision Making The Family Life Cycle Family Decision Making Conflicts Gender Roles & Decision Making Four Mother Types Children as Decision Makers Consumer Socialization Stages of Consumer Development Marketers & Socialization

Families and Households
Households are composed of all those people who occupy a living unit
– –

The Nuclear Family The Extended Family The Detached Nuclear Family

Non Family Households:
Men Living Alone
Women Living Alone Other Non families

Differences between Families & Other Groups
Families are formed by marriage or birth whereas other groups are formed by job or task Families have permanent relations, other groups have relationships based on contracts Families are oriented towards interpersonal relationship, whereas other groups are more goal oriented Families have emotional ties, whereas other groups have more rational ties Families are more oriented towards intrinsic values, other groups seek more extrinsic rewards Families seek cooperative relationships, other groups are more competitive and self oriented

Family Decision Making



Relative Influence of decision makers Wife dominated decisions Husband dominated decisions Autonomic Decisions: Decisions of lesser importance that either husband or wife may make independently of each other Syncratic Decisions: Husband & wife participate jointly

Husband role load

Husband overloaded Wife under-loaded: Information-acquisition activities carried out by wife
Wife role low load

Husband overloaded Wife over loaded: Informationacquisition activities are shortened; joint decision making is minimal. Use convenience items extensively

Husband Underloaded Wife under-loaded: Joint decision making

Husband under-loaded Wife overloaded: Information-acquisition activities carried out by husband


“Certain things are hard to swallow.”

Folgers Appealing to a Smaller Household of Just One Person

The Family Life Cycle
A family’s needs and expenditures are affected by factors such as the number of people (children and adults) in the family, their ages, and whether one, two or more adults are employed outside the home. Two important factors that determine how a couple spends time and money are whether they have children and whether the woman works. Recognizing that family needs and expenditures change over time, the concept of the Family Life Cycle (FLC) has been widely used by marketers. Concept that combines trends in income and family composition with the changes in demands placed upon this income to segment households.

Effects of Family Structure on Consumption
The Family Life Cycle (FLC) Combines Trends in Income and Family Composition with the Changes in Demands Placed Upon this Income. Four Variables are Necessary to Describe these Changes:

Marital Status
Presence or Absence of Children in the Home Children’s Ages (if any)

Family Lifecycle
Bachelor I: Unmarried under age of 35 Bachelor II: Unmarried under age 65 Newly wed: Married without children under age 35 Single parent: Single parent under age 35 Full Nest I: Couple with female under 35,with children under 6 Delayed Full Nest: Couple with female over 35, & with children under 6 Full Nest II & III: Couple with children under or over 6 Empty Nest I: Couple under age 65, with no children Empty Nest II: Couple age 65 or over no children Bachelor III: Unmarried, age over 65

Family Life Cycle: An Updated View
Age of Head of Household
Under 35
1 Adult in Household 2 Adults in Household Bachelor I Young Couple

35 - 64
Bachelor II Childless Couple

Over 64
Bachelor III Older Couple

2 Adults + Children in Household

Full Nest I Full Nest II

Delayed Full Nest Full Nest III

What Changes Affect the FLC?
Age Family Size & Composition Income & Assets Stock of Goods Commitments/Leisure Time Health Interests

Ethan Allen
Advertisement Referring to stages in the Family Life Cycle

Insurance Ad Reminding us that Children are often Eventually put in the Position of Caring for their Parents

Family Circle Magazine: Emphasizing that Traditional Family Values Persist Among Young People Today

Family Decision Making
Types of Purchase Decisions Made by Families

Group Agrees on the Desired Purchase, Differing Only in Terms of How It Will Be Achieved.

Group Members Have Different Preferences and Can’t Agree on a Purchase That Will Satisfy Everyone.

Household Decisions
There are two basic types of decisions made by families: 1). In a consensual purchase decision, the group agrees on the desired purchase, differing only in terms of how it will be achieved. 2). In an accommodative purchase decision, group members have different preferences or priorities and cannot agree on a purchase that will satisfy the minimum expectations of all involved.

Family Decision Conflict
Conflict Occurs When There is Not Complete Correspondence in Family Members’ Needs and Preferences. Some Specific Factors Determining the Degree of Family Decision Conflict Include the Following:
Interpersonal Needs Product Involvement and Utility
Person’s Level of Involvement in the Group Degree to Which the Product in Question Will Be Used or Will Satisfy a Need


For Procurement, Maintenance, Payment, etc.
One Family Member’s Influence Over the Others in Making Decisions

Gender Roles and DecisionMaking Responsibility
Autocratic Decisions
Made by One Spouse or the Other

Syncratic Decisions
Decisions Made Jointly

Factors Influencing Joint or Individual Family Decisions
Sex-Role Stereotypes Spousal Resources Socioeconomic Status Experience

Gender Roles and Decision-Making
Autonomic Decision
– When one family member chooses a product

Syncratic Decision
– When the family jointly makes a decision

There is a shift in decision making toward more compromise and turn-taking. Spouses typically exert significant influence on decision making.

Who is the decision maker?
Family Financial Officer (FFO):
– The individual who keeps track of the family’s bills and decides how much surplus funds will be spent.

Four Mother Types (LeoShe):
– June Cleaver, the Sequel – Tug of War – Strong Shoulders – Mothers of Invention

Four Mother Types
June Cleaver, the Sequel
– Traditional, stay-at-home moms.

Tug of War
– Working moms who would rather not; may pick wellknown brands as cognitive shortcut.

Strong Shoulders
– Lower-income with a positive view. Often single moms who may be willing to try new brands.

Mothers of Invention
– Love being mothers and working. Hubbies help.

Who is that Decision Maker?
Four Factors Determine the Degree to Which Decisions will be Made Jointly by One or the Other Spouse – Sex-role stereotypes – Spousal resources – Experience – Socioeconomic Status Kin-Network System: Ties among family members, both immediate and extended. Despite recent changes in decision-making responsibilities, women still are primarily responsible for the continuation of the family’s kin-network system. They perform the rituals intended to maintain ties among family members.

Determinant Factors
Sex-role stereotypes
– Believers in the traditional sex-roles tend to make individual decisions for sex-typed products.

Gender role orientation: Bem Sex Role inventory:  Masculine role: Strength, forcefulness, aggression, and decision making  Feminine Role: Passivity, nurturance, kindness, expressiveness  Psychologically Androgynous Role: Taking on characteristics appropriate to the situation Spousal resources – He (or She) who has the money often makes the decisions.

The Apparel Manufacturer Placed Menswear Ads in About a Dozen Women’s Magazines After Its Research Found That Women Exert Influence Over Men’s Clothing Choices

Determinant Factors
– Couples who have gained experience making joint decisions also make individual decisions more frequently.

Socioeconomic Status
– The middle class cooperates more than higher or lower class families in decision making.

Children as Decision Makers
Children are recognized as consumers that deserve attention
– Kids ages 4 - 12 spend or influence their parents to spend about $188 billion a year (McNeal, 1998) – Children are particularly influential in purchasing:
Fruit snacks Frozen novelties Kids’ beauty aids and fragrances Toys

Children as Decision Makers: Consumers-In-Training
Children make up three distinct markets: 1). Primary market: Kids spend a lot on their own wants and needs. 2). Influence market: Parental yielding occurs when a parental decision maker is influenced by a child’s request and “surrenders.” This is somewhat dependent on family dynamics. 3). Future market: The web surfers or those who are taking increased responsibility at home because of working parents

Some Effects of Birth Order
Zajonc’s Theory of Birth Effects
– 2 adults (100+100)/2 = 100 – 2 adults, 1 age 0 (100+100+0)/3 = 67 – 2 adults, 1 age 2, 1 age 0 (100+100+4+0)/4 = 51 – 2 adults, 1 age 4, 1 age 2, 1 age 0 (100+100+15+4+0)/5 = 44 – 2 adults, 1 age 12, 1 age 0 (100+100+80+0)/4 = 70

Consumer Socialization
Consumer socialization is defined as the process by which young people acquire skills, knowledge, and attitudes relevant to their functioning in the marketplace.

1) Parents’ influence in the socialization process is both direct and indirect.
2) The process begins with infants when they accompany their parents on shopping trips.

Consumer Socialization
Three dimensions combine to produce different segments of parental styles:
1). Authoritarian parents – restrictive with negative view about ads. 2). Neglecting parents – detached from kids and exercise little control. 3). Indulgent parents – less restrictive and want children to learn about buying. One of the strongest influences on children is television. It teaches children about cultural values and myths. Television is often called the “electronic baby-sitter.”

Stages of Consumer Development

Marketers and Socialization
Fun with Barbie
– Barbie Laptop – Barbie 35mm Camera

Little Kids
– Baby Einstein Series


Sex-Role Socialization
Children pick up on the concept of gender identity at an earlier age than was previously believed (sometimes at age one or two). One function of child’s play is to rehearse for adulthood. Often “traditional” gender roles are stressed in children’s products; the same item might be positioned and designed differently for boys and girls.

Cognitive Development
The ability of children to make mature, “adult” consumer decisions obviously increases with age (not that grownups always make mature decisions!). Kids can be segmented by age in terms of their stage of cognitive development, or ability to comprehend concepts of increasing complexity.

Cognitive Development
Children Differ in Abilities to Store and Retrieve Information From Memory:
Below Age 6, Children do not Employ Storage and Retrieval Strategies. Between 6 and 12, Children Employ these Strategies -when Prompted. 12 and Older, Children Spontaneously Employ these Strategies.




Figure 12-4: The Sketches Used to Measure Children’s Perception of the Intent of Commercials

Kids and Marketing Research
Product Testing:
– A particularly helpful type of research with children. – Involves watching kids play with toys or involving them in focus groups

Message Comprehension:
– Children differ in their ability to process product-related information – Ethical issues must be considered when directing advertising appeals at children

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